"OK, Boomer" made its first appearance in the Supreme Court Wednesday, invoked by baby boomer Chief Justice John Roberts 12 days before he turns 65.
The meme is a favorite of younger generations and Roberts used it in questions in a case about age discrimination in the workplace.
"The hiring person, who's younger, says, 'OK, Boomer,' once to the applicant," Roberts said as he conjured a hypothetical exchange to try to figure out when an older federal employee might be able to win a lawsuit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
It was the first time, according to databases of high court arguments, the somewhat pejorative phrase used by younger people to criticize the less flexible, tolerant and tech savvy ways of their elders has been uttered in the Supreme Court, where the nine justices range in age from 52 (Neil Gorsuch) to 86 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
Supreme Court justices sometimes will imagine themselves in situations like the ones that land people before the high court, but that can be hard to do when the subject is employment discrimination because the justices have lifetime tenure.
In addition to Roberts' boomer reference, 81-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer talked about a made-up supervisor who was considering candidates for promotion. "I certainly don't want people who are over the age of 82," Breyer said, prompting laughter in the courtroom and on the bench.
The justices were considering the case of a Veterans Affairs Department employee who was in her early 50s when she sued for age discrimination after being denied promotions and training opportunities.